By Laura P. Valtorta
Making films, especially documentaries, involves exploring the world and its surprises. I really cannot write an effective treatment or outline until filming for a couple of days. The story changes as I digest the subject matter.
On November 21, 2014, I set off with truck driver Milica Virag to experience life on the road. I brought two cameras and an open mind. The sun was shining and the temperature mild. Our first destination: Covington, Georgia. Then on to
or so we thought. We had a load of truck parts: 30,000 pounds of trailer parts
resting on the flatbed of a 47,000-pound truck. San Antonio, Texas
Milica checked the security of the straps and the tire pressure. We climbed into the cabin and set off, making wide turns that hogged a lot of road space on either side of the truck.
“You see, It’s boring.” Milica was blasé. (I was charged with excitement). She lived like this most days of the year—using her tablet and laptop for directions as she talked to the broker and the destination (a car dealership) on her blue tooth phone and munched on a carton full of tangerines from Walmart.
Meanwhile, I was working two cameras. That kept my mind off safety, the cars darting ahead of us, and how someone can steer an International while peeling a tangerine, fixing her hair, and charging her computer. The truck chugged and bumped along. Down below, the angry, darting drivers looked like ants on the highway.
If we hit one of the cars, they would be smashed flat like a bug.
We arrived in
at noon. Milica was astonished that the car dealership could not give her
compass directions, but used “turn right” and “turn left.” I admitted I was
also directionally impaired. Covington
The parking lot at the car dealership was filled with automobiles. Where were we going to park? One of the Head Bubbas waved us in. Stopping and parking in an 18-wheeler is no joke. The Head Bubbas complimented Milica for arriving exactly on time.
The Head Bubbas had called a Wrecker Driver who arrived about 20 minutes late.
For the next two hours, the Car Dealership figured out how to unload MIlica’s flatbed. First they used some chains and the Wrecker. Dramatic film footage. After about an hour, they discovered that the pieces could be lifted off more quickly with a forklift.
The white-haired Wrecker did all the work and all the figuring. Three of the Head Bubbas stood around and talked about lunch and about their diets with comments like – “you look great in that suit.” And “I need to lose twenty more.” It’s impossible, apparently, to lose weight when you attend a lot of football games and “eat like crazy.”
Two hours later the Head Bubbas said, “Goodbye, Sweetheart, drive safe,” and waved Milica toward the front of the parking lot. She turned around on a handkerchief of space and reached the entrance of the car dealership. “I’m going to stop here,” she said, “and finish the paperwork.”
So we stopped. Who was going to make her move?